The Mormon church has a new top-ranking leader to replace the late Boyd K. Packer, who was next in line to become president and prophet of the faith.

The Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday that Russell M. Nelson will serve as the president of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, its high-level governing body.

Mormon President Thomas S. Monson appointed Nelson to the post.

Nelson has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1984.

He replaces Packer, who died July 3 at his Salt Lake City home of natural causes. He was 90.